Security forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police have killed 102 militants till now this year, making it the highest number of killings in the January-July period in seven years, a police official said today.
The security forces also have prepared a hit-list of several other terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen. The slain militants included Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Bashir Lashkari who was involved in the killing of six policemen in south Kashmir and top Hizbul Mujahideen militant Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, he noted.
The security forces and police are going after terrorists as part of the operation “hunt down” and on the basis of a “hit-list” of terrorists, said the official who refused to be identified. The killing of 102 militants till July 12 makes it the highest number in the past seven years, the official said.
Earlier in 2010, the highest number of 156 militants were killed between January and July that year. Last year, 77 militants were killed during this period, 51 each were killed in 2015 and 2014, respectively, 43 in 2013, 37 in 2012 and 61 in 2011, according to the police data. The hunt for militants of various outfits has been intensified under an operational strategy, the official said.
The counter-terrorist grid continues to maintain dominance and deny any space to terrorists, the official said, adding synergised hard intelligence-based joint operations involving the J&K police and central paramilitary forces have been the hallmark of these operations. While the forces have already eliminated those involved the killing of seven cops and lynching of Dy SP, a massive hunt is underway for LeT commander Abu Ismail who has emerged as the mastermind of the deadly attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
Sabzar Bhat, who was a close associate of the slain poster boy Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, was killed along with an associate in an encounter in Tral in South Kashmir on May 28. On July one this year, Lashkari and another LeT militant Azad Malik were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Anantnag’s Brenti village in South Kashmir. Bashir Lashkari was involved in the killing of six policemen in the district’s Acchabal area on June 16, according to the police.
On July 12, top Hizb militant Sajad Gilkar was among three militants killed by security forces in Budgam district of central Kashmir. According to the police, Gilkar had played a key role in the lynching of DySP Mohammad Ayub Pandith near Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar on June 22. Most of the encounters have taken place in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag districts while others have taken place in Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir and Budgam in central Kashmir, the official pointed out. In June, the Army had released a “hit-list” of 12 top militants in Jammu and Kashmir who it aims to “go after”.
The hit-list carries the names and pictures of the militants along with the areas they are active in and the strikes carried out by them. The hit-list includes LeT’s so-called ‘divisional commander’ Abu Dujana alias Hafiz, its Kulgam ‘district commander’ Junaid Ahmad Matoo alias Kandroo, Anantnag ‘district commander’ Bashir Wani alias Lashkar, Pulwama ‘district commander’ Showkat Tak alias Huzaifa, Shopian ‘commander’ Wasim Ahmed alias Osama and Zeenat-ul-Islam alias Alkama (LET), according to the police. Abu Hamas, Jaish-e-Mohammad’s so-called ‘divisional commander and a Pakistani national, is also in the hit-list. From the Hizbul Mujahideen, the list includes its ‘divisional commander’ Zakir Rashid Bhatt alias Musa, Shopian ‘district commander’ Saddam Paddar alias Zaid, Pulwama ‘district commander’ Reyaz Ahmed Naikoo alias Zubair, Badgam ‘district commander’ Mohd Yasin Ittoo alias Mansoon and Kulgam ‘district commander’ Altaf Ahmed Dar alias Kachroo.